Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Special collections libraries to host faculty open house

Athens, Ga. – The Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries will celebrate its first anniversary with an open house for university faculty April 17 from 2-6 p.m. The event will spotlight faculty members who have formed innovative collaborations with the special collections libraries and showcase the libraries’ exhibits and collections.

Toby Graham, deputy university librarian, will welcome guests in the auditorium, Room 285, at 2 p.m.

“UGA faculty have integrated special collections holdings and spaces into their teaching in exciting and productive ways during the Russell Building’s first year,” Graham said. “We welcome faculty members to the open house to hear examples from their colleagues and to consider how the libraries can help them to enrich their own research and instruction.”

The event will begin with a panel discussion from 2-3 p.m., followed by an offering of 30-minute breakout sessions further exploring archivist/faculty partnerships from 3-4 p.m. The second half of the event will feature tours of the galleries and 30,000-square-foot collections vault, opportunities to meet staff, ask questions and discuss future collaborations. Light refreshments will be provided by Big City Bread.

To attend, university faculty and graduate students who provide instruction can register online at by April 10. For more information about the event contact Jan Levinson, outreach archivist at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, 706/542-5788,

Panel discussion participants:
• Fran Teague, University Professor in theatre and film studies, taught the first class hosted in the new Russell Special Collections Building in spring of 2012. The course taught dramaturgy, and asked students to perform historical research in various collections of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library in preparation for performances. Since the end of the course, two doctoral students have incorporated this research into dissertation topics and five undergraduates will present their work at the CURO symposium.

• Shane Hamilton, an associate professor of history, will speak about an experimental assignment in spatial history that required students in his Technology and American Culture course to locate historical documents and analyze them within a geographical framework. Hamilton will suggest some rules of thumb for instructors thinking of integrating digital humanities research projects into their existing courses.

• Cynthia Dillard, Mary Frances Early Professor of Teacher Education in the College of Education, conducted a doctoral seminar entitled “Black Identity, Spirituality and A Civics of Belonging” in the fall semester 2012. Using the special collections libraries as a resource, students looked at letters, photographs, personal papers and other related documents related to the history of African-American education and sociopolitical life. The students wrote scholarly papers and created short digital documentaries that addressed their new understandings.

3 p.m. breakout session:
Session 1: Barbara McCaskill, associate professor of English; Caroline Killens, head of university archives and records management, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library; and
Steven Brown, university archivist emeritus, Hargrett Library, will discuss students’ use of the collections in conjunction with Killens’ AFAM/ENGL 4880 courses for “Reacting to The Past games on the Civil Rights Movement.” They will also speak on the library classrooms as places to evaluate and interpret materials from the collections.

Session 2: Horace Newcomb, Lambdin Kay Chair for the director for the George Foster Peabody Awards, and Mary Miller, Peabody Awards Collection archivist, Walter J. Brown Media Archives, will discuss Newcomb’s Journalism 8240 graduate class in media studies that focused on Peabody Awards Collection-based research projects. Newcomb will discuss the lessons he learned from this process and his vision for greater scholarly use of the collection.

3:30 p.m. breakout session:
Session 3: Brian Drake, a lecturer in history, and Jill Severn, head of Access and Outreach, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, will discuss a project to get undergraduate history majors more experience with developing a topic from scratch and conducting original research earlier in their program of study. Students in 3000-level American history courses developed topics based on the constituent correspondence in Sen. Herman Talmadge’s papers on issues ranging from the Vietnam War to Watergate. Drake and Severn will comment on the value of the assignment in the confidence and proficiency that students who have taken the class demonstrate when they move on to writing their senior history papers.

Session 4: Teague, and Charles Barber, head of manuscripts for the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, will discuss the issues involved with holding a class in the Russell Building and the benefits resulting from regular classroom access to original materials.

Session 5: Misha Cahnmann-Taylor, a professor of language and literacy education in the College of Education; and Anne Devine, a bibliographic coordinator for Rare Books in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, will also discuss using the special collections for classes. Cahnmann-Taylor’s students have worked with manuscripts, books and maps relating to colonial Georgia and to the Native American experience. She will discuss using these materials from the Hargrett Library’s collections to inspire creativity in her poetry workshops.